TX lawmaker proposes to legalize casino gambling

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SHERMAN, TX-A Texas lawmaker is pushing to pass a bill that would legalize casino gambling in the state. If it passes, 21 casinos would be opened in Texas along with the creation of a state gambling commission. Officials on both sides of the river who tell us what they think of the proposal.

The author of the bill, Texas Sen. John Carona of Dallas, said Texans spend about $3 billion a year in surrounding states gambling. In fact, according to the TXP, an economic analysis firm, 43-percent of Oklahoma's gaming revenue came from Texans.

Sherman Economic Development President Scott Connell said allowing casinos in Texas could mean more jobs and more revenue for the state, but it could take away from current economic activity like Lake Texoma tourism. He said the economic impact would also depend on the location of the proposed casinos.

Durant Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Janet Reed said she does not support the proposal because it could mean competition across state lines.

"I think most states have done it because they felt that they needed to raise their revenue and we're probably not in that position, so I'll be surprised to see that happen. But we're watching it closely and it comes up every two years," said Connell.

"Of course I'm not happy about it. But I think it's something that we all knew will eventually come, they want a piece of the pie like everyone else. But then again, we are lightyears ahead of what Texas can do," said Reed.

Carona's bill also proposes that 20-percent of gaming revenue go to the state of Texas. If that bill passes with a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate, it will be on the ballot in November.

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